Understanding Adjectives

Adjectives

An adjective is a word that describes a noun. There are two kinds: attributive and predicative. An adjective is used attributively when it stands next to a noun and describes it.

 

For exampleThe black cat climbed a tree.

Notice that the verb participle forms can be used as adjectives:

The man felt a paralyzing fear.

Flavored oatmeal tastes better than plain oatmeal.

 

The usual place of the adjective in English is in front of the noun. You can have a whole string of adjectives if you like: The tall thin evil-looking cowboy roped the short, fat, inoffensive calf.

 

Sometimes, for rhetorical or poetic effect, the adjective can come after the noun:

Sarah Plain and Tall (book title)

This is the forest primeval.

 

An adjective is used predicatively when a verb separates it from the noun or pronoun it describes:
The umpire was wrong.

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